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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • billyperksiibillyperksii Posts: 198
    Mark 20K in 11 months, that's a whole lot of driving.
    I have 18K and I am going on 3yrs (8/17 exactly).
    I guess I will have enough equity in my car when the 2014 hits the showrooms.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,923
    Mark...appreciate your thoughts. I loved my TL SH AWD. As you say, it's an "S4 lite".

    Be anxious to see what the TL will become, if they release an "S" version, will there be a future TL model, at all?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    Supposedly -- the next TL will be called, in keeping with the new nomenclature, TLX. Of course this is confusing or could be to anyone who knows the way the car biz names things -- X's typically mean cars that are ALL WHEELS DRIVEN (328ix, M37X, X6, FX56 and so forth.)

    Also, for those shopping this apparent class of car, the transmission choices should never include fewer than 6 speeds and often what is needed to be compared with the best is 7 or 8 speeds (and, if possible a 6 speed stick.)

    If one of your key features and differentiators has been SH-AWD, Torque Vectoring, or whatever that special secret sauce is, dumbing down the line also is a way to telegraph you're place on the Premium Class pecking order is falling not rising.

    I suspect Acura does OK financially due to the popularity of the MDX. The dealer I use in Columbus had dozens and dozens of MDX's and not much of anything/everything else. I swear I saw no RL's of any MY, no ZDX's (but I really think that the ZDX is dead and no one has been informed, yet), a few ILX's and a few RDX's.

    I have no issue with Acura making a decision to slide gracefully out of, off of the Premium Class list -- and maybe that is what is being done. Somehow it seems, however, that they're oblivious to what is going on around them.

    I used to think of Acura as the Japanese Audi -- no more. In fact I can't seem to find any descriptive term that fits the line. Their cars, and I now have the proof, are all over the map.

    I used to think of Acuras as "members of the club" -- now I'm pretty certain they're no longer members and that maybe they don't know it or don't care.

    :surprise:
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,898
    edited July 2012
    It seems to me that Acura has decided to compete more directly with Lexus as evidenced by the new RDX which is clearly aimed at the RX. The RX is certainly a premium or luxury vehicle but also not a great driver or handler.

    As to is whether it is premium or not? What is the definition of premium? Is it track performance or luxury appointments or does it have to be both? Does it include dealer experience or is just how a car accelerates and handles.

    Now, the title of this particular discussion happens to be Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans. There are going to the vehicles that are clearly no brainers and there are going to vehicles that are at the very bottom of the list and up for some discussion as to whether they belong or not. The base TL is very similar to ES but the TL SH-AWD is closer to the GS. The TSX V6 is close to the IS350.

    Have to agree that Acura seems to have drifted away from the performance aspect that many liked about it in years past. I think they still have a good premium/luxury product that is comparable in quality to all the rest but may be towards the bottom of the ranking and not towards the top. Somebody always has to represent the bottom of a catergory and it appears Acura is that somebody.

    As long as they keep selling a ton of MDX and now the new RDX and a good number of TL and TSX they are probably happy. Even though a bunch of enthusiusts would like every car they build be track worthy. They might not be as lost as some would think but have found a way to compete better against Lexus and Infiniti which I think, in their eyes, are their biggest competitors.

    I think sometimes we forget that Honda is a much smaller company than Toyota, Nissan, VAG, Mercedes, BMW, GM etc and cannot and will not try to compete on all levels as they do. Little more niche IMO.
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,052
    edited July 2012
    I'm amazed that this is now a topic- Acura died with the deaths of the NSx and the integra - would also throw the no coupe, no convertible, no sports car, terrible flagship, no v8, dropping the turbo 4, the second tsx, the beak of the line, the Zdx, the delay in a 6speed auto, fwd... I need to take a breath - I'm missing a fewthings - this was a thougth 4 years ago Now it's obvious- just like its obvious that the tsx (gen 2) should never have been included in Ellps- I agree standard TL should go as well.

    Curse of the beak.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,708
    edited July 2012
    The Acura TSX is actually a re-badged Accord. In Japan, it sells as the "Accord". So it's not viable for this category at all - not even close. No matter what lipstick and dress they put on the thing, it's still not a luxury car.

    How does this tie into the TL?

    The TL is sold as an extra-large Accord over there. Essentially exactly what Toyota did with the Camry and Avalon. Same basic idea, just larger. Honda is pimping it out as a luxury car, but it's really a large family sedan. Essentially a Japanese Buick Lucerne.

    It's simply not part of this category, at least not in Japan it wouldn't be. Perhaps because we have such a miserable selection of good cars in the U.S. compared to most of the rest of the world we might consider it to be a performance sedan, but it's really not.

    I'd buy a CTS over a TL in a millisecond.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,898
    Is a CTS-V quite a bit different car than the base CTS? Is the Shelby Mustang quite a different car than a base V6 Mustang? I don't believe just because a car is sold somwhere else that outfitting the car completely different doesn't change the character of the car. The same can be said of the Honda CR-X and the Acura RDX. They share some(very little) attributes but one only has to feel and drive them to understand they are not the same vehicle whatsoever. The people that say the new RDX is just a CR-X with some lipstick are clearly ill informed and probably have not been in both but just repeating others. I'm sure there are many more examples of plainjane autos that with the right equipment become completely different experiences.

    I really don't know much about the Euro Accord except that the TSX is based on it. I guess I'm not that hung up on the fact that a premium car here is not considered a premium car elsewhere and I don't worry about what is offered in other countries that we don't get here either. If it bothered me that much I guess I'd have to move there or quit bitchin about it.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,708
    But... quite literally, the TSX *is* the Accord in Japan. No change. They just swap the console over to the left side, change the lights and so on to U.S. DOT approved ones, change the nav system (if equipped) to a U.S. one, slap an Accura badge on it, and it's done.

    The TSX *is* a great car, mind you, but as the real Accord, you'd expect it to be. What we get as the "Accord" over here is actually an in-between car, much like how the Corolla is in between the Camry and the Yaris. In Japan, to compete with Toyota, they actually sell four main levels. Toyota would be Yaris/Corolla/Camry/Avalon. Honda is City/Civic/Inspire(U.S. Accord)/Accord(U.S. TSX) all "Honda" on the badge.

    All not premium cars in Japan or Europe, either. It's such a scummy tactic to offer us fewer dumbed-down cars and then charge us a significant up-charge for an Acura badge.

    It's big, soft, and front wheel drive. The 4 cylinder engine is noisy and rough, the steering is vague, and while it's lovely to look at, and has a great interior, it's simply not even close to cars like the C class, the CTS, and the G37. Let alone a 3 series.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,923
    Mark....interesting take. There's a certain contingency that remember the Legend as the car that built Acura. That's overall true.

    However, that recipe (powerful motor, technologically top of class, premium ride/handling, premium build/materials, for less money than the Germans) doesn't seem to be on Acura is following any more.

    I don't know if they can't build that anymore, or they choose not to. But, regardless of the classification, they still build good cars.

    Frankly, I've seen all the Japanese marks falter a bit since the tsunami and resultant nuke meltdown occurred. Who knows? It could take another decade for the likes of Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota/Lexus to recover.

    I would say that maybe Acura hasn't kept pace with the other Lux/performance cars we've talked about here. But, I contend they're still good cars (i.e. your TL SH AWD).

    I know they would have kept me in the fold if the current TL would have kept pace with the Germans. So far, not even the newly released Lexi, Acura, and Infinitis have been able to do that.

    You want to see, feel, hear where the money goes in the premium you pay for BMWs and Audis, listen to the drivetrain, test the suspension, notice the ride/handling balance, look at the premium materials they use, and the solidity of their build. That's where you can tell the biggest differences.

    Obviously, you already know this since you've owned the German brands.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited July 2012
    What about all the BMW 3 series 1.8 and 2.0L sedans in Europe? Cloth seats, steel wheels, etc. - they aren't considered "premium cars" over there.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    edited July 2012
    I test drove a CTS/4 Premium Luxury with the 19" wheel option and the FE2 suspension.

    This was the day I test drove an Audi S4 and the TL SH-AWD Advance.

    The Cadillac was the least desirable of the three -- IF one had any lust for even a hint of performance. The 3.6 engine seemed enthusastic in its sounds and refinement but was unable to press you back in the seat at full throttle. The feeling in the CTS was "same day service."

    The CTS lacked the driver and passenger above-door handles that even the least expensive VW's offer -- and it's not like passengers would have no use for them. This symbolically told me where Cadillac's head was, and that is Cadillac's head is up its nose!

    Now, for the money (not MSRP, lease money per month, that is) the pecking order (from low payment to high) was Acura TL SH-AWD Advance, Cadillac CTS/4 Premium Luxury and the S4 (Prestige). At these respective levels of trim each of the three offered about the same content (although the Cadillac didn't have blind spot monitoring which seems like a glaring oversight.)

    If Acura is trying to compete with Infiniti, I know of none of their cars that offers the performance level, interior poshness or HP for the buck offered by Infiniti.

    I do like my Acura (which is $547/mo for 36 months) -- I am not crazy about the styling (exterior) and there is very little "premium" anything in the interior except the heated and ventilated seats -- the 2012 Acura does a decent impression of my 2005 Audi A6 (which had the +sized wheels and tires, but no sport suspension, but w/sport seats) -- and the SH-AWD allows the TL to perform "similarly" to an Audi S4 (S4-Lite, i.e.)

    Rumors are rumors and who knows what is real -- so I am planning on keeping my mind open about a 2014 TLX, Cadillac ATS/4, Audi A? and both the G and M Infiniti's.

    I am looking for my next car to have what appears to be the reliability and durability of my '12 Acura and my wife's '11 Infiniti (and the performance of at least an Audi A4 in terms of handling.) The Audi may have to be removed from my list, in fact, due to my suspicions that virtually any German car on the market (and I have had 29 of them) shows and feels its age more quickly than the Japanese (and maybe even than the Cadillac, I have no experience with that.)

    I priced out an ATS/4 with the turbo four and premium pack -- it turned out to be just south of $50K -- with a 6 speed auto. Word is there will be an 8-speed auto "soon." Might be worth a look-see.

    If the greatest gripe I have is that the lesser TL's have no place on either the ELLPS or LPS boards, but that the top o' the line SH-AWD version is decent -- well, I think we all are in pretty good shape with any of these vehicles if configured to match one's proclivities.

    Still, 2014 can't come soon enough! :surprise:
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    It seems to me that Acura has decided to compete more directly with Lexus as evidenced by the new RDX which is clearly aimed at the RX. The RX is certainly a premium or luxury vehicle but also not a great driver or handler.

    I disagree, the MDX is the direct competitor of the RX, in both price and size. Lexus does not have a RDX/X3/EX competitor as of yet and I don't believe Lexus has to have another SUV in it's lineup.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    The comparison that makes the most sense, size-wise and price-wise is to compare the MDX to the RX. I don't believe there is a car in the Lexus lineup that in similar in size/class, etc to the RDX.

    I have NOT driven the RDX. I have read reports and sat in one.

    The RDX is a nice step up from the old RDX -- in terms of "styling." In every other way that I can think of, the new RDX is clearly a nice, a fancier a "better" CR-V in about every way that I can think of.

    At the current moment, I would look closely at a new BMW X1 (w the turbo i4) over the RDX. I'd probably look at a Q5 over the RDX, too.

    Now then, offer up the SH-AWD on the RDX and it becomes the pick of the litter since it would be a bargain, or at least one would think it ought to be.

    For the record, as if there is a record, I do not track my cars -- I look at SH-AWD as both a performance improvement on regular roads and a safety feature considering the understeering habits of virtually all FWD and non-SH-AWD, AWD versions.

    Drive it like YOU live!
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Graphic while the Legend was a good car, I believe what set Acura apart from everybody else was it's dealership and how they treated the customer. Loaner cars, greeting the customer with a smile, going to the customers place of work and exchanging cars. Going beyond the typical dealership experience that was being offered in 1986, even by the Germans.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,611
    The TL is sold as an extra-large Accord over there.

    Actually you're wrong on this count.

    The North America Accord is sold over in Japan as the Inspire. The TL isn't offered there at all as it was replaced by our Accord.

    Yes the TSX is the JDM/Euro Accord. It is a bit of a pedestrian car in those markets and with good reason - that's what sells. Bringing it here as the TSX was a way to get people in the door of Acura dealers as the TL was getting bigger and more expensive.

    Is it an ELLP? That's up to the buyer to decide. By offering it with a V6 in North America (it's not offered that way in the other markets) was a way to bring it up to ELLP standards although the 4 offers sufficient engine and chassis performance.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,923
    Mark...I enjoy reading your impressions. Although, my GF's S4 is the first Audi I've experienced, it is a step above (actually, a couple of steps above) my former TL SH AWD....regardless of the parameters I use to measure both of them. The S4 performs better, has better materials, etc.

    I've had 3 BMWs. And, all of them have been as stout as anything I've ever owned. So, we'll have to disagree about how they age.

    I've mentioned before, I've tried to like Infinitis. I've test driven (several times) the new M37 and the G37. While the have the "window dressing" down pretty well. The refinement and suspension work is where they fall down....at least compared to what I drive.

    I thought the M37 was very nice on the inside, however.

    I've never been able to warm to the exterior styling of either the G or the M. M was cheaper than the GF's S4. We still didn't like it.

    FN.....I think everyone in the Acura community is awaiting the worthy successor to the Legend, for all the reasons you state. It hasn't happened yet.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Is a CTS-V quite a bit different car than the base CTS? Is the Shelby Mustang quite a different car than a base V6 Mustang? I don't believe just because a car is sold somwhere else that outfitting the car completely different doesn't change the character of the car.

    I would say yes, just as there is quite a difference between a 528i and a M5, basic body shell, but after that completely different car.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Is it an ELLP? That's up to the buyer to decide.

    Not on this board some people have decided for the whole group that the TSX does not belong here. However, I agree, the buyer is the one who decides their money.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    I've had 3 BMWs. And, all of them have been as stout as anything I've ever owned. So, we'll have to disagree about how they age.

    Graphic I agree here too, my 05 has no rattles, and the body alignment is perfect not bad for a car that has been tracked. Mark has made comment the age thing a couple of times, I wish he would give examples.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,898
    Actually we're both right. The RX competes against both. If you look at size the RX is smack dab in between the RDX and MDX but is actually closer in size to the RDX. It's a five passenger like the RDX, rides and handles similar to the RDX and has almost the same powertrain as the RDX. The MDX is bigger, holds 7 pax, has the sportier engine and also SH-AWD. The main thing the RX and MDX have in common is the price.

    I think with the redesign of the RAV-4(after a long in the tooth run) you may see a Lexus CUV based on that and a stretched RX go to 7 pax seating to compete more directly with the MDX and JX. I think if anything goes in the Lexus lineup it may be one or more of the more traditional based SUVs. There is already rumors of a Lexus version of the Prius V.
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